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8:26am on Tuesday, 22nd December, 2009:

Metaplace Betaplace


I was rather taken aback by the shock news waiting in my email box this morning that Metaplace is closing down. I've just spent a term using it to teach the principles of MMOs and Lua programming to my final-year students, and was already planning on what changes I'd be making for next year's course. I even called my teaching account CE317, ready for next year, rather than EE314 (which is this year's equivalent). We dropped Multiverse from the syllabus because of its collapsed user base, but Metaplace seemed to be growing. I guess it just wasn't growing fast enough.

Sure, there were some details about it that needed to be improved, but it was in beta; that's how things are in beta. It was next to impossible to make your character clothes, which was a source of irritation to those who thought they were getting their own online Sims 3; the user documentation was patchy (at times excellent, at times incomplete, at times just wrong); it made the Multiverse mistake of trying to add new technology too quickly (yes, we'd want streaming videos eventually but given the choice it would have been better for the rendering algorithm to be fixed so it didn't clip our squirrels).

This was all incidental, though. The recent expansion of Metaplace Central was very swish and very welcoming, with lush graphics and lots to do. I introduced my 15-year-old daughter to it and she loved it; she built her own place and was planning on inviting her friends in. I suppose there just weren't enough people like her to achieve critical mass fast enough.

I had high hopes for Metaplace, and no idea it was on the ropes. The people there were top notch, and the basic idea sound.


Referenced by Lacking Traction.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).